So what if you don't have the right pan or you'd like to add more ingredients? Last night I did some serious improvising and put my own spin on rosemary chicken.
As many of you know, I start each week by selecting different recipes that I'd like to make (you may have seen the new @hungryfor_life_ Instagram). I typically pick out 3-4 options and I try to select larger dinners so that Kalo can take the leftovers for lunch the next day. When I quickly scanned the recipe for Skillet Rosemary Chicken, I thought "Easy, check. Roasty, check. Yummy, check. Sold!" Little did I know it would be quite a challenging experience.
Often I can't find what I need in the smaller grocery store near our flat so I ask Kalo to grab some ingredients on his way home from work. Well I have to put him on blast really quick because last night he forgot to stop at the store near his office! To add insult to injury I also realised that I didn't have the right style pan and that I bought the wrong kind of chicken. Things are looking really good so far aren't they? Haha needless to say if we wanted to eat dinner I would have to get creative and just go for it.
I used to think that there was absolutely no room for deviation or innovation. Oh was I wrong! Trust me when I tell you the more you let go, the more confidence you'll build in the kitchen.
Instead of scrapping the whole dish, I dug deep into my pantry and knowledge of cooking to make some basic modifications. Here's what I did differently:
Pan Shman, Use What You Got
The recipe calls for a cast iron skillet but I ended up using a large roasting pan. Yep, that's right, I used the type of pan you would roast a turkey in. Sure, it looked a little silly but the end result was still great. I will say that every cook should have a cast iron skillet so I know what my next kitchen purchase will be.
Fresh vs. Dried Herbs
Fresh rosemary was on Kalo's grocery list which we now all know didn't make it home. Good news is I had dried rosemary in the spice cabinet and I even added some dried thyme to compliment the lemon in the recipe. Remember to adjust the ratios because dried herbs are typically more concentrated.
Add Another Roasting Veggie
Potatoes and mushrooms (although delicious) weren't cutting it for me. I thought we needed a vegetable to make this dish a bit healthier. Brussels sprouts added colour and the nutty flavour complimented all of the roasting. You could also use carrots, zucchini, parsnips, etc.
Breasts or Thighs, Oh My
The recipe calls for skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts. I understand that this style of chicken would hold up to the baking process and ensure the chicken remained moist. Maybe it was a force of habit but I grabbed boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the store. So to make up for my error I roasted my vegetables for 10-15 minutes before adding my chicken to the oven. The result was golden, tender veggies and juicy chicken.
One Clove of Garlic is Never Enough
One garlic clove ... really? Since I added extra ingredients and probably way more potatoes than necessary, I decided to add 4-5 cloves of garlic which I pressed. Looking back now I'm thinking how good it would've been to roast the garlic beforehand. I'll have to try it out next time.
If you check out this recipe on Food Network, you'll see my skillet chicken looks totally different from the original picture. And that is completely okay with me. Delicious food is delicious food. I remember when I would stress over a recipe. My stomach would drop if I didn't follow every instruction. I used to think that there was absolutely no room for deviation or innovation. Oh was I wrong! Trust me when I tell you the more you let go, the more confidence you'll build in the kitchen. I hope that over time you are able to add some creativity to your cooking (I've got your back) and when you do I want to be the first to hear about it in the comments below.